New Orleans, 2015
Modern Mules is a series that celebrates a population that often goes unnoticed during Carnival — the drivers pulling the floats we line the streets to see. These drivers, like the mules of the past, carry Carnival on their backs — with the aid of modern equipment of course. However, the weight of the pressure to have a smooth ride from start to finish is real and I have seen it come crashing down on drivers who have had engine failures or burnt clutches — their faces filled with a sense of hopelessness and disappointment. I have always appreciated the joy these individuals display, despite not being able to take part in the fun of catching beads, stuffed animals, or light-up frisbees. Inspired by these men, I set out to focus less on the throws and more on them. The feeling of gratitude they expressed when I engaged them was unbelievable. So when the next Carnival season comes around and you find yourself on the parade route, take a moment to make eye contact with a modern mule and throw them some love.